If you’ve been following the latest shenanigans of elected officials running the District of Columbia, it’s easy to understand why the city is so messed up. I’m referring, of course, to Lincoln-gate where DC City Council Chairman Kwame Brown ordered not one, but two 2011 Lincoln Navigator SUVs for his official use. Why two? Why not? Well, he didn’t like the color of the interior on the first one the city ordered at nearly $2,000 per month in leases.
It appears Mr. Brown wanted a “black on black” SUV and no other color combination would work. The reason he gave is that model “holds its value” longer than any other. So now the Chairman is cost-conscious? How pathetic. What Mr. Brown hopes readers don’t remember is his insistence that the SUV be “fully loaded”, including a DVD player in the back seat. I don’t even want to know the reason behind that request.
Late last week, the chairman saw the error of his ways and is now returning the vehicles. The sad irony here is we may never have learned of any of this – including Brown’s personal insistence on such minor (and meaningless) details – if not for a Freedom of Information Act request by area reporters.
Cover-up after cover-up, why is that the rule among District of Columbia politicians, even at the highest echelons of office where the magnifying glass of scrutiny is its strongest?
Worse still, why do these politicians feel they can flaunt and fiddle with the trappings of office and use their public positions for personal gain? Is this town stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to transparency and stewardship of the public coffers?
I could offer the usual lines about “service means sacrifice” and it all may apply here. But what’s been occurring lately goes far beyond the typical admonishments.Has this city and its people not learned from the previous mayor and his good-ole-boy, DC-style, deals and side bargains with fraternity brothers?
There’s a vicious pattern here, folks. A pattern where slaps on the wrist mean nothing anymore.
Where are the examples of character and putting the city first that was set by former mayor Anthony Williams, when this city was bustling with growth and greed wasn't tolerated on any level. Vincent Gray became the new mayor of this city in part, because the voters were turned off with youthful and inexperienced leadership. They yearned for the days of the Reagan generation to once again return to the leadership role and restore wisdom and maturity to the corridors of power. Hopefully and prayerfully Mayor Gray is ready for the challenge and task.
It’s time for a Tea Party movement to form in the District, and I’m not referring to the kind that leans right and votes conservative. We’ll never see that in my lifetime. No, we need a movement that is willing to stand up and wag a finger in the faces of the Kwame Browns who claim to “take full responsibility” and then walk away without justifying such a statement. One which asks why a city that’s $400 million in debt should even THINK about paying for a lease that’s over $1,900 a month when its residents struggle to make that in two months. One that’s tailor-made for this type of political corruption.
Such malfeasance cannot be explained away. Nor should it be swept under the rug and dismissed. Such acts cry out for a body of voters who have no tolerance for this behavior, and a movement that is not easily swayed by the lure of political baubles.
The mayor should know better than to allow this to continue or even go un-questioned. It’s no longer enough to comment, “he’ll do the right thing.” It’s time to stand up and demand that the right thing be done. And then work like hell to ensure the voters and taxpayers are protected.
For as long as we have to shake our collective heads and hang them in embarrassment, the District of Columbia can never truly reach its full potential.
We know better. It’s time to start demanding that from our elected officials.